Kenyan Diplomat Continues to Charge Pro-Life NGO with Bullying

By | May 9, 2019

Kenyan ambassador Koki Muli Grignon

NEW YORK, May 10 (C-Fam) A Kenyan diplomat, assisted by UN delegations and media outlets that promote abortion internationally, continues to insist she was harassed and bullied because of a pro-life petition she received through texts and emails during a recent UN conference.

Ambassador Koki Muli Grignon of Kenya facilitated negotiations for an agreement on women’s policies during the UN Commission on the Status of Women. On March 22, the final day of the Commission, an emotional Muli Grignon complained she had received one thousand texts from fellow Kenyans and people all around the world urging her to avoid controversial issues like abortion and LGBT rights on which there is no international consensus.

Muli Grignon said these texts were a form of bullying and harassment, a charge repeated by several delegates who expressed sympathy for Muli Grignon.

In subsequent messages to fellow diplomats, Grignon said the texts had come from Friday Fax subscribers, charging that C-Fam, publisher of the Friday Fax, had bullied and harassed her, and questioning C-Fam’s accreditation with the United Nations.

CitizenGO, the international civil society group that launched the petition, sent a letter of apology to Muli Grignon signed by president Ignacio Arzuaga, which explained C-Fam had no involvement and expressed regret that the Kenyan ambassador had been irritated.

“CitizenGO is not in the business of harassing, intimidating, threatening, or bullying anyone,” said the letter to Muli Grignon from CitizenGo. A CitizenGo spokesperson also told the Friday Fax that as soon as the group heard that Grignon was annoyed by the petition, they stopped the messages precisely to avoid harassing her.

Even after the apology, during a meeting about cyber-bullying, Muli Grignon said that she has asked the United States government to investigate CitizenGo, and possibly C-Fam. She said the same to a Canadian media company last week. The Friday Fax was unable to verify this request independently.

The Kenyan ambassador also made claims that are inconsistent with each other and with CitizenGo’s account of the petition.

Online media source PassBlue’s twitter account reported Grignon saying that 128,000 messages had been sent to her. Previously Grignon only indicated she had received 1000, and CitizenGo spokesperson Gregory Mertz said their system indicates no more than 3,000 had been sent. According to Passblue, Grignon claims the messages were anonymous, but Mertz told the Friday Fax that, unless there was a system error, their petitions always indicate the name of the sender.

Mertz told the Friday Fax that CitizenGo was especially concerned with Muli Grignon’s claims since the group had directed over 1.5 million messages to UN diplomats and officials in recent years, without receiving even a single complaint until now.

Muli Grignon declined to respond to questions from the Friday Fax to clarify her charges and remarks, saying she was “not at liberty” to answer. Grignon has also yet to walk back the charge that C-Fam was somehow involved in bullying and harassing her.

Diplomats have told the Friday Fax they believe the ongoing controversy generated by the charges of harassment is designed to overshadow the controversial negotiations and adoption of an agreement at this year’s Commission on the Status of Women.

When the Commission ended on March 22, Muli Grignon claimed that all delegations had agreed on a document even though this was not true. At least two governments said they had not agreed to the document that Muli Grignon presented for adoption. Many others complained that the negotiations had not been conducted fairly and that their concerns had been ignored.

The Irish Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nasson, who Chaired the Commission, chose not to resolve the situation diplomatically, but instead pushed adoption of the agreement overall objections, causing confusion and consternation among delegations. Even now a cloud hangs over the agreement, which will be reviewed by the Economic and Social Council early next month.

A diplomat told the Friday Fax the controversy is a political reprisal to punish pro-life organizations whose only crime is to have stymied the abortion agenda at the United Nations. In recent months, the abortion-related term “reproductive health” has become controversial as it hadn’t been in years thanks also to the efforts of pro-life organizations.

One observer told the Friday Fax, “Besides getting bested by pro-life NGOs and delegations, the real problem is Muli Grignon and other UN diplomats are not used to hearing from their constituents. They live and work in a bubble, and it annoys them when they are held to account. A few thousand Kenyans reached out to Grignon to encourage her to take a pro-life position at the CSW, and she has turned it into an international incident. It shows how unserious she really is.”